Democrats take control of the Senate
By LIZ SIDOTI and BOB LEWIS, Associated Press Writers
21 minutes ago
WASHINGTON - Democrats wrested control of the Senate
from Republicans Wednesday with an upset victory in
Virginia, giving the party complete domination of
Capitol Hill for the first time since 1994.
Jim Webb's squeaker win over incumbent Sen. George
Allen (news, bio, voting record) gave Democrats their
51st seat in the Senate, an astonishing turnabout at
the hands of voters unhappy with Republican scandal
and unabated violence in Iraq. Allen was the sixth
Republican incumbent senator defeated in Tuesday's
The Senate had teetered at 50 Democrats, 49
Republicans for most of Wednesday, with Virginia
hanging in the balance. Webb's victory ended
Republican hopes of eking out a 50-50 split, with Vice
Dick Cheney wielding tie-breaking authority.
The Associated Press contacted election officials in
all 134 localities where voting occurred, obtaining
updated numbers Wednesday. About half the localities
said they had completed their postelection canvassing
and nearly all had counted outstanding absentees. Most
were expected to be finished by Friday.
The new AP count showed Webb with 1,172,538 votes and
Allen with 1,165,302, a difference of 7,236. Virginia
has had two statewide vote recounts in modern history,
but both resulted in vote changes of no more than a
few hundred votes.
An adviser to Allen, speaking on condition of
anonymity because his boss had not formally decided to
end the campaign, said the senator wanted to wait
until most of canvassing was completed before
announcing his decision, possibly as early as Thursday
The adviser said that Allen was disinclined to request
a recount if the final vote spread was similar to that
of election night.
The victory puts Sen. Harry Reid (news, bio, voting
record), D-Nev., in line to become Senate majority
leader. He has led the Democrats since Tom Daschle,
D-S.D., was defeated two years ago.